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Jan 16, 2014 05:03 PM

How to handle uninvited children at a cocktail party

I need some guidance here. I am planning a surprise birthday cocktail party for my husband. I have invited his out of state brother who has a couple of kids (age 4 and 5 and unruly). I have mentioned that there will be no kids (my kids are in college), and would he consider having his kids at another brother's house (who lives not too far from husband and me), who also has a couple of young kids. I have offered my kids to babysit for all of their younger cousins at the other brothers house. The problem: his wife won't leave her kids with anyone, not even family, not even for an hour. So it appears that in the end we'll have a couple of kids high-jacking an adults only party with a guest list of about 30 people. What can I do to keep peace? My brother-in-law wouldn't dream of attending without his wife and kids.

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  1. Your brother in law really can't understand your preference? Even with the offers to head to another family member? Even with a built in babysitter?

    How important is their attendance to you? How understanding will the rest of your guests be? How relaxed will you be?

    If you can't share how you feel about this with your brother in law without causing a big issue, I think you are stuck having an unpredictable evening.

    I feel for ya.

    1. Welcome to CH!!

      Since you already know the brother POV since they said no to your offer you just have choose which is more important, family accord or an adults only party. Once you know than it's an easy decision.

      1. I would have no patience for that. Either no kids or they don't come either, extra-especially if they are unruly children.

        I would make it very clear that there will be NO child-friendly food, no baby-sitters, no movies or cartoons on the TV, and NO tolerance for distruptive behavior.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Njchicaa

          Amen. Insisting on taking her children with her everyplace she goes is, let me put this politely, aberrant behavior. Does she take them when she goes for her GYN exam? Adults deserve a child-free social situation once in a while where they can tell an off-color joke or engage in some flirting. Some places are unsuitable for children and the very presence of children demands child-suitable behavior of adults.

          1. re: Querencia

            It's not fair to the children either - they really need some time away from their parents. Being "sat" by one's big cousins would be a great (but safe) adventure!

          2. re: Njchicaa

            I agree Njchiaa. I used to have that situation with a dear cousin. She would bring her little boy everywhere, and he was not an easy child. There were times that I absolutely put my foot down and said no. At my wedding, he was the only child there, but they wanted him at my table, where they sat and I put my food down there, big time!

            1. re: Njchicaa

              Well put. An invitation is a set of instructions. If you can't or won't comply with what the invitation entails, you can't accept the invitation.

              Man, I feel sorry for those kids.

              1. re: Njchicaa

                This is exactly how I feel.

                Not the same situation but we had some parents who started to let their kids use our pool WAY too much. Nothing spoils a good time for me more than the unruly kids of other people.

                I would reiterate that the party is for adults only and set up another get together with the in-laws.

                1. re: Dimbo

                  "another get together" for people who are *flying in* for this event?

                  1. re: DGresh

                    I wouldn't organize another event. I would say no kids, we've made sitter arrangements. If they don't come, too bad. The SIL is being difficult, and I would never cater to that behavior. It's controlling.

              2. Especially with the evening being a surprise bday party, I would find it very easy to just state my plans up front. Make a date with the bro in law and his family another time.

                75 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  ...maybe even with apologies: "I'm really sorry you and wifey won't be able to attend, but this is an adults-only gathering. We'll certainly miss you, and we'll get together with you and the kidlets another time.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    If only I was that brave! I'm a sucker (or passive-aggressive)!

                    1. re: Yankeegirl28

                      Or, you can look at it another way. If your inlaws have the chutzpah to insist their children tag along, YOU can certainly muster up the chutzpah to sweetly say, "Sorry, having the kids here, as much as I adore them, just doesn't work for me."

                      1. re: Yankeegirl28

                        Well, if you're not that 'brave' then your brother-in-law and his wife are already aware of your behavior.
                        They'll, most likely, push their agenda and know you'll cave.
                        An adult party is just that. Children should not be around adults who are drinking.
                        It's that simple.
                        An inviation, if you've sent one, should not include the children and they should honor it. I'd explain it once to them and then never another word. Drop it.
                        It's their prerogative to not want a sitter for their children…their choice but choices have consequences.
                        They won't be able to come to your husband's party with children.
                        Your rule and their choice.
                        Having hosted many a party I've experienced every request imaginable. Sometimes I've been more flexible than other times.
                        But I *do* know that once you've allowed something you said you'd never allow you become angry and resentful of the person who requested it. In reality it is YOU who gets to decide who comes and who doesn't. It's your affair and you simply cannot please everyone.
                        It's just the way it works.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          I always invite my friend's children to my more casual parties, as do most others in our social circle. We also drink alcohol. Most of my friends are social drinkers and imbibe at home, in front of their kids.

                          At one first birthday party, the proud papa brewed a special beer in the birthday girl's honor and served it to his (adult) guests.

                          1. re: LeoLioness

                            I've been to many 'cocktail' parties where having children present would be highly inappropriate.
                            Perhaps your parties are more benign than the ones I'm used to but having a child present wouldn't be enjoyable with the things that are being said, the jokes that are being told, the type of drinking that goes on, etc….
                            They're *adult* parties where only adults partake.

                            1. re: latindancer

                              You must have far more interesting friends than I do! :)

                              1. re: DGresh

                                Some of the comments in this thread have left me scratching my head and wondering what the hell is going on at some of these parties. I understand wanting time away from the children, but I'm having a hard time recalling anything I've seen at an 'adult' party that is so outrageous. Occasionally there will be an obnoxious drunk, but they seem to get vetted out fairly quickly.

                                1. re: pollymerase

                                  <what the hell is going on at some of these parties>

                                  Why would you assume there's anything off-color going on at these parties?
                                  I can think of a dozen places where children should be left behind with a babysitter so adults (not only the parents) can enjoy themselves without worrying about children and what they might see/hear or experience.
                                  I'm always amazed at the parents who bring their children to see a film or a special art exhibit or a high end dinner. It's not only disrespectful to the child, who doesn't have the capacity to act like an adult, but also the other patrons who're paying good money to have peace and quiet.
                                  Nobody's talking about adult parties that get out of hand and the cops need to be called…
                                  The ones I'm talking about are classy adult parties where children should be home, tucked in bed, sleeping.

                              2. re: latindancer

                                Well, no one is doing lines in the bathroom, if that's what you mean...but I don't know, the kids in m social circle don't seem phased by adults drinking and getting a little rowdy.

                                I respect that some parties are better suited for adults and it's certainly the host's call. I just took issue with your statement that children should never be around adults who are drinking. If that was the case, I'd pretty much never see my friend's kids.

                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                  What I don't understand is a parent who can't leave their child with a sitter and therefore insists everyone around them adhere.
                                  There's a time and place for everything…

                                  For those adults who come to a party expecting that they can let their hair down and then find there's a child running around who shouldn't hear that dirty joke being told or see that crazy, colorful friend doing shots out in the backyard…
                                  It inevitably puts a damper on a party, in my opinion.
                                  Maybe things have changed, this thread may be an indication of that, but I've never been to a party where there're kids running all over the place and we had to watch our behavior so they wouldn't be offended.

                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    I guess my friend's kids aren't easily offended, then. They've definitely seen people doing shots, telling off-color jokes, people "sleeping" on the couch during a party, etc.
                                    No one really censors themselves just because there's a 5 year old in the room, and the parents don't expect anyone to.

                                    1. re: LeoLioness

                                      Now I'm beginning to understand the anxieties of the contemporary generation…which are many.
                                      Thanks for the insight.

                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                        After giving this subject some thought over the last several hours I'm beginning to believe there really are parents out there who have no problem exposing their children to things parents would have never allowed many decades ago….
                                        based on several of the posts.
                                        I've been, over my lifetime, to parties that would, by all conventional standards, literally knock the socks off even the most liberal mind.
                                        The first thing that comes up for me is lewd dancing at parties.
                                        Is a 5 year old equipped, emotionally and mentally, to experience and watch this? Single and partnered dancing is very adult (at least the type I'm talking about) but maybe there are those who really find it educational from the perspective of those little, innocent minds?

                                        Just curious.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          Your baits are getting funnier, but I'll take this one.

                                          Yes, those little, innocent minds find lewd dancing (nana? Is that you?) "educational". That's why we also replace their Dora the Explorer DVDs with porn and coat their chicken nuggets in cocaine. Because they should learn this stuff among friends just like my parents taught me and their parents taught them.

                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                            I guess what I'm really wondering is what it takes for some parents to let go of their little darlings, for a few hours, and go out and have a great time without them.

                                            This is a fascinating thread.

                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              I can have a great time at a party without my partner. That doesn't mean if he's invited somewhere, I tell him to stay home.

                                            2. re: LeoLioness

                                              <Your baits are getting funnier>

                                              It's actually not a 'bait'.
                                              I'm completely serious about my posts…
                                              I think parents, for whatever reason they give for not leaving their children, are exposing their kids to far too many concepts that are intended for adults only.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                I might too, if the parties I hosted/attended featured adults engaged in "lewd dancing", as yours do. But twerking isn't like, a party staple for everyone.

                                                But seriously, we're talking about people eating and drinking and laughing and telling stories sometimes getting a little loopy. I don't know what sort of key parties you're cooking up in your head, but your imagination is really running away with yourself here.

                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                  I couldn't agree more-- even in my grad school days, I don't recall any lewd dancing! (Of course we were mostly engineers, so YMMV :) )

                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                    You know what, it doesn't matter if the behavior at the party doesn't rise (or fall) to the level of adult, lewd or lascivious behavior. The presence of kids can still be a real drag and an unwanted distraction at a cocktail party, and that's reason enough to insist on their absence. Yes, my kids, now in their early teens, have, on occasion, been at such parties, when we drank and swore and behaved as if they weren't there. They've seen me, and my friends, drink to considerable excess. But my understandable preference is generally that they not be there, and usually I arrange for them to be elsewhere. And I would always defer to such a request from another host. I really, really, really want the OP to grow a set and stand up to the wacko sister in law.

                                                    1. re: Wayno

                                                      Again, I think hosts absolutely should insist on no kids if that's their preference, and parent shouldn't bring them if they'd rather not.

                                                      I have invited kids to my parties in the past and it worked out, so that's my preference.

                                                      The in-laws are in the wrong in the OP's situation, absolutely, though I the alternatives (leaving the kids with another relative) may not be as black and white as they seem from the outside.

                                                  2. re: latindancer


                                                    I think there might be a large discrepancy in what people are considering 'adult' parties. This is why I was curious about what is happening at some of these parties. I'm in my early 30s, but it has been many years since I've been to a party where there has been 'lewd' dancing. I've just not seen that happen since I've become what I consider to be an 'adult'. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but in my experience in attending parties hosted by people my age, those younger than me, those older than me, co-workers, associates, bosses, friends, etc, I've not seen 'lewd' dancing or other 'off-color' behavior (and yes, I would certainly classify 'lewd' dancing as off-color). I have seen such behavior occur at bars, clubs, lounges, etc, but never at someone's home. Is this behavior appropriate for children? In my opinion, no.

                                                    Don't get me wrong, if people want to have crazy parties, by all means, have them. If consenting adults want to pound a bunch of shots and then go hide in a dark room with the neighbor, go for it! However, in my experience, this isn't something that seems to be very widespread/common, and presumably why many people don't see a problem with children in the same house where there are adults drinking.

                                                  3. re: LeoLioness

                                                    Some of the posters on here are obviously from an era long ago Leo. I went to a cocktail party that was at our chief psychiatrist's house. It was a house warming and full of *sophisticated* individual*s. It was much wilder than I assumed it would be. One of the other five psychiatrist's (we had five on our inpatient acute psych unit) had two toddlers. Dr. M. and his wife brought their toddlers and settled them into one of the bedrooms and proceeded to party their azzes off and taking turns checking on the kids. Everyone there was quite fine with that because we all wanted him and his wife there he was beloved by all. Zero incidents of unleashed feral toddlers trying to imitate the *dirty dancing* their parents were doing after a few cocktails.

                                                  4. re: latindancer

                                                    Haven't been to a party with "lewd" dancing since college. Maybe I should go to some of your parties!

                                                    1. re: lbs

                                                      I think that I'm completely over lewd dancing, since we're getting up there and all

                                                    2. re: latindancer

                                                      Lewd dancing. I don't recall ever being at any party which included anyone doing any lewd dancing. I think if some folks started doing that, we'd laugh our butts off and tell them to get a room.

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        as a child of the early 60s my parents and their extended family and friends often threw very lively parties with drinking, dancing, smoking, and children. these were parents with kids, not unmarried teen parties. my younger friends (30s-40s) nowadays often throw parties (again, not wild teen snogging puking fests) that include their and their friends' childrens.

                                                        it's not that you can't have a wild party as an older adult, and i've been to plenty, but most of the time if you're having parties with friends you've known a long time you know if things are going to get at all out of hand, and then you know not to invite kids - you plan for "that" kind of party. as a child, at adult parties, did i see adults get drunk? yes. did i hear some ribald humor? yes? did i grow up ok? um, yes, i did, i think, in most ways. as did most of my friends of that generation.

                                                        that "decades ago" thing where people seem to think things were so much better in the "olden days" just doesn't hold water with me.

                                                        all that said, people should be able to get away from their kids if they want to and leave them for a couple hours. and people who want an all-adult party, whether they intend on having "lewd" dancing or not, are entitled to a child-free event.

                                                      2. re: LeoLioness

                                                        I agree that the worry about off-color stories and drunks are a bit exaggerated. But that still doesn't mean that children should always be welcome at every party.

                                                        Let me preface this by saying that my nephew was the perfect child who always behaved impeccably, but most kids need to be entertained. They get bored, they whine, they want a drink of water, they want to be the center of attention, they should be in bed early, etc. That's no fun for anyone. They also get into things. I have enough troubles with my adult guests breaking my crystal without worrying about a child doing it! Their parents will either be distracted watching their children or interrupting to ask for special foods, special drinks, special cups, etc. Worse yet, they'll expect someone else to be watching and catering to their children (and I guarantee that children whose parents never leave them with a sitter will expect to be catered to) so they can relax and have a good time!

                                                        The main point of etiquette here is: the host sets the parameters of the event. Either abide by them or don't go. In this case, the host has gone to extraordinary lengths to provide alternatives for the children and the guests have refused them. "Sorry you can't make it, we'll have to get together another time" is the appropriate response!

                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                          Kids are definitely not welcome at all parties. That's the host's call, 100%.

                                                          The strange twist this thread has taken is Latindancer's assertation that kids shouldn't be at parties they *are* invited to. Because of all the lewd dancing.

                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                            Am I the only one who giggles every time I hear about the lewd dancing? Wow the parties I go to are lame...

                                                              1. re: Hobbert

                                                                <lewd dancing>

                                                                Well, honestly, I don't view it that way but there are alot of people who may…
                                                                A few on this thread, for sure.

                                                              2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                OK is there a pole involved and scantily clad voluptuous females in the lewd dancing or is it more like a Chris Farley *Chippendale's* dance or a scene from *The Full Monty*?

                                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                  in my age bracket it's Chris Farley's

                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                    Chris Farley had it going on. Kevin James too had his moments.

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      In my age bracket, it's John Belushi. TOGA!

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        I don't remember John doing lewd dancing? Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze dirty dancing was comedy genius.

                                                                        1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                          You never saw Animal House? It was a pretty lewd movie overall. The toga party was the high point.

                                                                          Dirty Dancing was a comedy? I must have missed that. Not a big fan though, sorry to say.

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            I've seen Animal House, but don't recall John dancing lewdly - even in a toga. I'll have to revisit that.

                                                                            Here you go. It's kind of the predecessor to Chopped Chef!


                                                                            1. re: Bellachefa

                                                                              Thanks haven't watched SNL in many a year....can't stay up that late anymore ;-)

                                                                              Here's a little preview

                                                                              Although it doesn't show the end where they're all wiggling on the floor. My kind of party!

                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  Ruth, one thing i've noticed that you definitely reminded me of, is that kids get into things (duh). My nieces and young nephews (we have two generations, 7-12 and 21-25 used to get into a hell of a lot of trouble (especially at my house, I guess I have a lot more kid-attracting tchotchkes and so forth) when they were little, primarily because their parents got to kibbitzing with the relatives and ignored the kids. I really don't want to be that gal, the property cop. But it kept happening. Thank heavens the younger ones are old enough not to go out and look for trouble any more, they look to the older cousins for entertainment instead of the fish in the pond. They do grow out of it, but the lack of parental intervention is what I'm thinking the OP is dreading, and I don't blame her. It can translate to a lot of expensive breakage.

                                                              3. re: latindancer

                                                                Come party with my family. People bring their kiddies....dogs and one guy brings his cat. No one is uptight about any of it. Of course the booze and the bong helps loosen up the *party poopers*:):)

                                                                1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                  I can say, without hesitation, nobody's 'uptight' at the parties I attend…quite the opposite.
                                                                  Dancing, eating, drinking and whatever else happens…

                                                                  It all happens without children, thank the gods.
                                                                  I can't imagine an adult not being able to separate from their kiddo for a few hours…
                                                                  Not good for the parents and certainly not good for the child.

                                                                2. re: latindancer

                                                                  "What I don't understand is a parent who can't leave their child with a sitter and therefore insists everyone around them adhere."
                                                                  My reason (20 yrs ago) was generally the expense of hiring childcare. Adding $20-$50 to the cost of dinner was a serious consideration! $8/hour (slightly above minimum wage at the time) added up quickly when I started including travel time, "get ready" time, etc. Not to mention cab fare home for the sitter.
                                                                  Not everyone has a family member who can provide child care.

                                                                  I am often surprised by the number of people who still try to negotiate child care rates to BELOW minimum wage.

                                                                  1. re: KarenDW

                                                                    Folks, let's return to the subject at hand, away from the economics of babysitting. We've removed some posts here.

                                                                  2. re: latindancer

                                                                    I think refusing to leave kids with a sitter is a control move and nothing more.

                                                                  3. re: LeoLioness

                                                                    To me, it's not just whether or not the kids would be phased. It's....why? Why need they be there? Why can't there just be an adult only party?

                                                                    My parents' group set up parties in much the same way the OP suggests. Older kids responsible for younger kids, either in a nearby home or on a different floor of the adults only party. Usually the nearby home. don't need to be at every party?

                                                                    Now, I agree that there's no problem with kids being around adults drinking .That's what dinners and neighborhood BBQs and backyard parties and corn boils and house painting parties and block parties were for. :)

                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                      Well, of course, people should throw whatever kind of party they want. I wholeheartedly believe that, and can completely understand why the OP is feeling put out. It's her call, not the guests.

                                                                      For me, I changed my tune about having kids at parties when I found out how much it cost for a babysitter. Once I realized that most of my friend's choices were either a.) Shell out close to $100 for a babysitter, b.) Have only one parent be able to attend or c.) No one comes, I really didn't mind including kids. Not everyone brings them, but if it means more people I love can come then I'm okay with it. My parties tend to be pretty casual affairs, though.

                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                        Oh, my parents' parties were incredibly casual.

                                                                        In my current circle, it tends to also be the older kids watch the younger kids, often at a next door house. Hence, no baby sitting money needed. Often the parents just pool money for pizza and snacks for the kids' party.

                                                                        $100 for babysitting? For an evening? May I ask where you live? That's outrageous.

                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                            I live in the Boston area too. Parties now always include kids where we are because all of us have kids. If the parties were "adult only", a lot people probably wouldn't go because of the cost of the babysitter. The thinking is "is this event 'babysitter worthy' or not?" Who wants to give a party when no one comes? So, people bring kids and set them up in a room with a movie or video games and the party ends before 11:00 p.m. with no one drinking too much because everyone has to drive home with their kids in the car.

                                                                            1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                              i live in boston. and that's easily what i pay on several occassions. especially during the christmas season. i once went to dinner, the nutrcracker, and out for a drink. for the amount i paid in babysitting, the sugarplum fairy should have given me a lap dance.

                                                                          2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                            $100? Were you hiring paramedics for babysitters?

                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                              IDK, $100 doesn't seem completely unreasonable... depending upon the importance of needing childcare. I have cancelled business meetings due to lack of childcare at 7am :( Perhaps $100 would have been worth it?
                                                                              Back to the topic at hand, I would consider that for a 3 hr party, I would pay for at least 5 hrs of child care, to cover transit time and *possibly* 15 minutes of getting ready without a child underfoot. So, 5 hrs @ $12 = $60. Then taxi fare each way, $10-15. Pretty close to $100 if you ask me. And some events would be worth it. If only for the scintillating (child-free) conversation.
                                                                              fwiw, I have two children, now over 25, whom I raised as a single parent from the age of 7. I would have preferred more adult-only events, but the cost of child-care was too much. Minimum wage in our region is currently $10.50/hr. I can't imagine paying someone for caring for my child.

                                                                      2. re: latindancer

                                                                        You must hang with some real jet setters:)

                                                                        1. re: MamasCooking

                                                                          Not necessarily.
                                                                          I actually hang with lots of people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures and parts of the world.
                                                                          They all, based on the fact there are no children present, feel the same as I.

                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                            This thread reminds me of a holiday party we attended with our kid about 8 years ago. Lots of other kids there. Halfway through the party, the cops show up. A late arriving guest had called them after hearing a toddler crying in a car parked outside. Turns out, one of the guests had left her toddler sleeping in his car seat in her car parked outside while she was enjoying herself inside. Mind you, it was December in New England. Cold and dark. The cops led her outside and we didn't see her again. Could not understand why she hadn't brought him in as there were plenty of other kids there, other than she wanted to have fun and didn't want to be bothered with him. Ugh.

                                                                            1. re: Kat

                                                                              That person sounds either like she was on drugs or mentally ill.

                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                Or maybe just eat up with the dumbass

                                                                              2. re: Kat

                                                                                Shame on a woman who would do something like that with her child.
                                                                                Hopefully it wasn't the only time it took place and she wasn't completely unfit.
                                                                                The woman made the choice…she didn't have a sitter and she went to the party anyway and left her child to the elements.

                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                  Again, I think that behavior goes way beyond merely being "selfish".

                                                                                  1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                    Yes. Child endangerment comes to mind.

                                                                                    1. re: debbiel

                                                                                      Yes and she was not a young woman either. An older mother who should have known better.

                                                                                      1. re: Kat

                                                                                        Lots of people (I don't know any but I've read and heard) don't understand that once they have that child their entire life changes.
                                                                                        One of the issues they can't seem to get ahold of is the FACT that the child comes first…
                                                                                        The safety and welfare of that child is the only thing that matters.

                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                          This person left a toddler alone in a car in December. It seems obvious that there's more going on with her mental health than "she wanted to party/the sitter cancelled".

                                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                            It makes it easier, doesn't it, to try and comprehend a parent who'd leave their toddler in a car unattended and attend a party by labeling the behavior as some sort of mental illness.
                                                                                            I can vouch for a few parents I've experienced who don't have a smidgen of 'mental illness' and were just plain self centered, narcissistic imbeciles….unless I've missed something and now self-centeredness is classified as 'mentally ill'. There are just some really crappy parents out there taking really crappy care of innocent children.
                                                                                            Please don't be fooled into thinking the parents who do these things are always mentally ill.

                                                                                            That's just foolish, naive thinking.

                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                              It's foolish to think you know the status of everyone's health (mental and otherwise).

                                                                                              1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                                "This person sounds like she was on drugs or mentally ill"
                                                                                                Your statement not mine.

                                                                                                I've never once claimed to 'know the status of everyone's health (mental or otherwise).
                                                                                                I am saying and I'll quote, "don't be fooled into thinking the parents who do these things are ALWAYS mentally ill"
                                                                                                They're not.

                                                                              3. re: latindancer

                                                                                really? how is it that in every situation i've read you post about, everyone you know always feels the exact same way you do? i have many friends, also of all backgrounds, cultures, blah-blah-blah, and i can definitely say they do not all feel the same as i. how boring it would be if they did. they may have similar views (we're mostly all liberals) but they emphatically do not feel the same as i do about all situations.

                                                                        2. re: latindancer

                                                                          " Children should not be around adults who are drinking."
                                                                          what?!?! Do you think they shouldn't be allowed in restaurants either?

                                                                          1. re: LaLa

                                                                            I have friends who said they were going to give up drinking once they had kids.
                                                                            My in-laws won't eat in restaurants that serve alcohol. People have different values.

                                                                            1. re: melpy

                                                                              Yes their OWN values ..your I laws decide what is best for them, the friends decide what works for their family...but a broad statement like that when you are not referring to your OWN is ridiculous

                                                                            2. re: LaLa

                                                                              There's drinking and then there's drinking. I have never seen anyone having wine with dinner in a restaurant who put his hand up under a girl's skirt, but I have seen people at a party who really got into drinking do exactly that, and some adult behaviors are confusing and frightening to children. The OP's question wasn't about a family Thanksgiving dinner where Uncle Joe gets a little hammered--she asked specifically about a cocktail party, generally a venue for adult behaviors like drinking, flirting, and telling jokes that a six year-old doesn't need to hear.

                                                                            3. re: latindancer

                                                                              I agree with most of this, but also think it's fine for kids to be around adults drinking. Not at every cocktail party, no, and not sitting around getting hammered every night. But certainly there are kids at my big annual barbecue and lots of adults are drinking beer, wine, hard cider. In fact, I think kids should see adults drinking responsibly; that's how they learn appropriate behavior, from seeing it modeled. Otherwise they'll just learn it from their older friends, and we see how that goes...

                                                                      3. Chances are a 4yo and a 5yo will get bored stiff around that many adults.

                                                                        Have you got a TV in another room? Plant a large bowl of popcorn there and if you've got cable load the TV up with kiddie movies. Either your s-i-l will end up in there with them or you could see if she'd let one of your kids babysit if she's in the next room.

                                                                        Remind her that they'll be better off where they can't pick up a forgotten glass with alcohol in it and won't be walking around with lit cigarettes held down by their faces by adults who are paying attention to one another instead of them.

                                                                        Good luck!

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: rainey

                                                                          This will probably be the most likely scenario. As much as I hate it, my kids will watch theirs, but these kids are not very mindful and I can just see the little terrors running thru the house while the parents do nothing!

                                                                          1. re: Yankeegirl28

                                                                            Is it possible to invite them later than the rest of your guests to avoid some of the issues you're dreading?

                                                                          2. re: rainey

                                                                            That is what I'd do too. Yes, your SIL is ridiculous but this wouldn't be worth a show down for me.

                                                                            1. re: rainey

                                                                              That's exactly why it's inappropriate to bring children to adult parties.
                                                                              You raise great points.